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Friday, August 19, 2011

Si babols, si migs at si Bench



Si babols at si Migs ay mag ina. Si Bench naman ang kanilang aso na may halong ibang breed "daw" maliban sa pagiging askal.

Isang araw, sa bahay nila babols:

Babols: Arf! Arf! Arf!

Migs: Mama what are you doing?

Babols: Tinuturuan kong mag English si Bench para pag nag migrate na tayo sa US of A, marunong sya makipag communicate sa ibang aso.

Migs: ???

Nga pala, may petition kasi ang mag-ina papuntang USA. Teka, alam nyo ba ang tahol ng Pinoy na aso? Ano nga ba?

(opo totoong storya ito sa aming probinsya)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pamasahe

In front of the entrance to our village is a Mini-stop store. I remembered I had to stop to get some wheat bread for tomorrow’s baon. Yeah, wheat bread so sue me. Some people just need to cut down on rice like me.



But before I could alight, I heard a knock on my car’s window. It was a lady around her 40s, asking for money for her fare home.


Instincts prompted me to say no and instantly lock my doors. I shook my head violently, as if to stop her from continuing her monologue about why she needed fare going home. Four years in college, walking along Faura and Pedro Gil trained me to do such.


I remembered this old lady from my college days. From my freshman year till I graduated, she was always there in Faura, saying the same old line - that she needed money for her son’s medicines. But if you’d offer to help her get a white card/ charity card to help her get meds free and endorse her to your pharmacist friends, she’d simply refuse and move on to the next bystander.


“Nakakahiya man, pero kelangan ko lang ng pamasahe pauwi, nag apply kasi ako sa SM (embarrassing as it is, but I just need fare home…)” was all I could remember from the lady’s monologue.


Like a trained Manila boy, I abruptly refused her.


But as she slowly moved away, something in her facial expression triggered a memory.


She moved away not with a disgruntled I’ll-look-for-my-next-victim look, but she looked helpless and deeply worried.


I had that nagging feeling that she was telling the truth.


“Manang, eto o!” I quickly called back to the lady, and without hesitation, gave her a fifty.


A fifty peso bill that someone, too, once gave me.


Back when I was in college, I had to struggle with a small allowance to cover for all my daily needs – food, fare, date fund, projects etc. Thus, embarrassing as it is, there were times when I had to resort to the unthinkable – riding a jeep without paying. One-two-three baba (get off).


One time I was inside an FX. And inside an FX, it is absolutely impossible to do the one-two-three manoeuvre – unless you’re a very skilled and thick-skined con artist.


So there I was, wondering how to get off, when this lady noticed my discomfort, spoke to me and gave me a fifty-peso bill.


Then it hit me. Life is like a freaking domino cascade. When the front domino is pushed, it will fall into the next domino, which falls into the one after that, and so on. Yeah, that’s a lot of headache.


Like that movie Pay It Forward. People find it easier to do good towards a stranger, simply because someone did the same to them.


Filipinos, for one, would find this easy with our “utang na loob” outlook in life.


And I wager that if one small person continues to do some small random acts of kindness towards strangers, these deeds will spread like wild fire, or like hot gossip.


Like a rainbow and unicorn induced butterfly effect.


So I thank you old lady who gave me that fifty-peso bill.


That I was able to pass it to another.


And hope that the next gets to pass the fifty to someone who might need it, too.

In some form or another.


From one person to another.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Salamat August

(si button, di ko kuha, kuha ng iba)

Medyo di ganon kasaya ung July ko kaya akala ko ganon din mangyayari sa August ko.


Nagsimula nung dumating ako ng KL, Sabado na nun, naiwan ko ung jacket ko sa car service. Paborito ko pa namang jacket un. Black na may mapa ng Pinas.

Pero habang tumatagal, parang onti onting nagiging ok mga araw ko. Isang sorpresa pala ang unang lingo ng August.


Sa lahat ng meetings ko, ngayon lang ata ako nakalakwatsa ng ganon. May mga bata kasi kaming kasama. Energetic pa sa mga layasan. Napilitan tuloy makisabay ng tuhod kong umaaray.

Tatlong araw kaming lumalamon, lumalayas, at nag pipiktyur piktyur hanggang sa matapos ang lakwatsa at trabaho naman. Saka na detalye. Ilalagayko nalang sa food reviews ko.


Myerkules habang nasa isang lecture, biglang bumalik ang aking jacket.


Simula na nga ng adventure.


Thursday ng hating gabi, nag bus kami papuntang Singapore. Sa daming beses kong bumisita dito, akala ko payapang dadaan ang weekend na alaalang pwede namang makalimutan ang baon ko paguwi, sa makatuwid, boring.


Mali nanaman ako.


Naglakwatsa nanaman kasama ang mga batang ka-opisina. Lumamon at nagpiktyur piktyur ulit sa Sentosa.

Byernes lang kami magkakasama. Kanya kanya na kami pagkatapos hanggang makabalik ng Malaysia.


Huwebes palang sa isang katropa na ako nanggulo. Wala kasi din akong matutulugan.


Tawagin natin si katropa na Kups. Wala lang. May topak din kasi gaya ko.


Sabado, wala akong plano kundi pumunta ng Funan, isang mall na puro electronics ang laman. Langit para sa akin ang lugar na puno ng gadgets.

At dahil mall, hindi ko binalak na gumising ng maaga. Tulog at bulagta at malamang humihilik pa.


Nang may marahang tapik ang gumising sa aking ulirat.


Si Kups.


Nakatingin lang at may tinurturo.


Kupal talaga, di man lang nagsalita. Pinahirapan pa akong lumingon sa kung anong tinuturo.

Laking gulat kong isang cake ang nasa tabi ng higaan. May kandila pa.


Talo pa tubig na panggising, di ko napigilang ngumisi.


Pambawi daw sa malungkot kong birthday.


Kupal talaga. Gusto pa ata akong paiyakin. Di nya alam un lang ang cake na natanggap ko ngayong taon. Walang cake nung birthday ko. Walang kandila.

Kumag talaga. Ampotah si Kups. Ang sweet.

Paglabas ko ng kwarto, may home made pandesal na niluto ng mountaineering na kasama ni kups sa bahay. Tawagin natin syang Astig girl. Sexy si Astig girl. Di naman payat pero may tamang kurba. At astig nga sya dahil sporty sya.

Kasama nila sa bahay si Button (botbot), isang Shih Tzu na pinagkamalan ata akong fucking doll. Maliban sa “sit,” ang isa pa atang alam nya ay kantutin ang binti ko. Pagka kyut na aso.

Papuntang Funan, napagdesisyunan kong kumain sa Ding Tai Fung. Paborito kong kainan ng Dimsum. Umorder ako ng madami, dahil nga gusto kong ilibre si Kups. At patikimin sya ng Awfully Chocolate. Pambawi man lang.

Pero di natinag si kups. Ako pa ulit ang nilibre. Eh ang dami ko kayang inorder. Mahal. Kaya siguro sumama ang tyan pagkatapos. Haha. Loko talga. NApatae pa tuloy sa Nex mall.


Kaya un. Masaya nanaman ako. Libre pa tanghalian ko, sa paborito ko pang restawran.


Mula Funan hanggang Nex mall, napuno lang ako ng tawa.


First time ko lang ulit ata naging kampante.


Tamang kulitan. Tamang gaguhan. Tamang asaran.


Di kelangang magpa ka witty. Di kelangang magpaka sosyal.


Tamang ako lang.


Kaya sa pagalis ko ng Sg, napagtiba nanaman ang pagkakaroon ko ng mga baliw na katropa. Mga kasangga. Ang layo nga lang. Haha.


Puyat man sa bus pabalik ng Malaysia, at sa eroplano pabalik ng maynila, napuno naman ng isang linggo ng August ang di napuno ng Hulyo.


Sa iyo Kups, salamat sa pagpapatuloy sakin sa iyong lungga. Salamat sa wifi, salamat sa aircon. Salamat din kela Astig girl at kay Auntie at Uncle na nagpatuloy sakin sa bahay nyo.


Di ko na babanggitin ang pangalan mo, sabi mo kasi baka panira sa imahe mong Kupal. Malamang, may pakeyk keyk ka pang nalalaman. Sira ka talaga. Tapos tatae ka pa sa mall. Hahaha!

Yaan mo, sa susunod, babawi ako. Wag lang tour package ng kung saang bansa. Pwede tour bus nalang. Haha!


Salamat kups.


Salamat August.


Buhay na naman akong babalik trabaho sa maynila.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The birthday graph

Picture from here.

Everyone expected this month to be my most memorable birthday.

My mistake? I expected the same.

It wasn’t even a roller coaster ride. It was rather a boring graph-y one.

This particular graph went up to a slope, reaching a point where it stopped to rise and formed a plateau. But like most things stable, the plateau crashed to nothingness.


After weeks of being on the sideline, or rather being behind my li’l bro’s shadow, I hoped that this birthday will finally be, well, about me. It’s that one day of the year, after all, that you’d want to feel special, particularly to those you value most.

Here comes the rise on the graph.


No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t stop myself from imagining how “memorable” my birthday would be.


I overheard them ordering food. They requested for the Poon (a holy relic) to be at the house for a day, which got me excited, to think that I am not even Catholic. Lola was supposed to have invited a few people.

I imagined how many of my friends would greet me.

It promised to be fun. I was to spend my birthday with my mom and brother. Twenty years should be enough waiting to at least make it all the more special.

The expectations were just too great to ignore.

But I was wrong.

Now comes the plateau.

My spirits went on auto mode when we started the day with my mom’s rich high school classmates. They just had to schedule their reunion on my birthday. To this day, I wonder if they even knew it was my birthday? I was practically invisible.

Like any other social gathering, my mom went on bragging about my bro’s accomplishments - how he declined Harvard so that he won’t have to be far from where mom is, how he got this 4 year pre-med scholarship over at VCU, and the list goes on.... Of course, I raise a white flag at a Harvard scholarship I can’t compete with that. And don’t get me wrong. I do love my bro.


So I spent my morning semi-socializing with my mom’s classmates. They’d speak to me in English, thinking I am not able to understand Tagalog. I didn’t have the energy to even correct them since they were mostly just one-sentence conversations. Mostly just to hand over their camera for me to take pictures. I ended up with 5 cameras slung on either arm the WHOLE morning.


Afternoon came and I only got a handful of greetings from friends. And I wouldn’t count those from Facebook. Most of them were acquaintances who just did not have my mobile number.


Evening came and my hopes took a nose dive when I was told that my bro’s relatives are the only ones coming to the house (for my supposed birthday dinner).


So here comes the steep slope graph going down.


Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against my bro’s relatives. They’ve been really welcoming and treated me as a guest when I tagged along with my ma and my bro on weekend visits.


But there lies the dilemma. I was only a guest and they weren’t really family. So mostly I was left alone on some corner during weekends.


Thus during dinner, I spared myself from hearing how they’d gush over my bro’s American accent. I ate at the dirty kitchen with my lola and her hired cook. Went to the sala to at least be courteous to the guests, but five minutes after being ignored, I went up my room to sulk.

My phone was silent. My inbox almost empty except for greets from people I rarely see. Of course I wouldn’t hold it against my friends if they forgot. I myself am not good with dates unless I get to check my planner. (I even forgot a friend's birthday despite my mental note a couple of days back – and yes, I’m trying to make excuses, too. But still, all that silence did not help my plummeting mood.

Then it occurred to me. Despite the lack of spotlight, and my failed need to feel special on my birthday, I forgot one person whom I felt the most sincere in greeting me a happy birthday – my lola. It was her idea to have the Poon over at the house, and it was her efforts to have all the food ready for dinner. And she was the only one with a gift despite the obvious place where she bought it, at a bargain shop near the palengke (market). I really am not in it for the gift, but I was hoping for some bit of effort, and she was the only one who exerted it.


So despite the self-pity and pathetic tears, I had to take a mental note to properly thank her.


She was that lone dot in my graph that was off-correlation. She somehow spiked up my graph even at the end.

So there, end of graph.


End of July.

Oh well…


I’m posting this to close this chapter, this month.


Then move on.


Who knows, next year could be different - new circumstances, new environment, and possibly a new place to live in, a FAR away place.


So here’s to my 28th.


And another step to hope for maturity.
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